Small businesses can use grant funds to revitalize communities, recover from challenges, or create quality jobs. This week, government agencies and corporations launched several opportunities that cover these various goals. Read on to learn more about these programs.
American Express Backing Small Business Grant Program
American Express and Main Street America just opened the second iteration of the Backing Small Businesses grant program. This year, the program is offering even more grants, with a total of $2.3 million available. Eligible business owners can apply for grants of $5,000 grants to cover expenses used to upgrade or grow their businesses. Existing businesses that can improve historic downtown areas or neighborhood commercial districts will be prioritized, and 350 total businesses will receive funding. The deadline to apply is April 7, and grantees will be announced in June.
Illinois Back to Business Program
The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity is launching a new round of the state’s Back to Business grant program. This round includes $175 million in available funds from the American Rescue Plan Act. The program will focus on businesses that were hit hardest by the pandemic, including restaurants, hotels, and creative arts organizations. The department will use declining revenues shown on tax returns to determine the amount of each award. However, for hotels, funding will be based on the number of rooms. All eligible businesses that apply will receive funds, so amounts may vary depending on the number of applicants. The application period will open April 5 through May 10.
Argyle Small Business Grant Program
Argyle, Texas is offering a new Small Business Grant program support businesses that were negatively impacted by the pandemic.The program includes $250,000 in American Rescue Plan Act funds, and individual grants will range from $5,000 to $25,000. The amount of each award will be based on the business’s annual revenue from 2020. And funds must be used to cover eligible business expenses. The deadline to apply online is April 3.
South St. Petersburg Microfund Program
South St. Petersburg, Florida plans to launch its Microfund Program this spring to support local small businesses. Business owners that apply for the program will create an improvement plan, go through an educational program, and work with a business mentor. After completing the 45-day program, small business owners with a brick and mortar location can apply for grants of up to $10,000. Co-working and home-based businesses can apply for up to $5,000. And startups can apply for up to $2,500.
El Paso COVID Grants Program
El Paso, Texas is partnering with nonprofit lender LiftFund to launch a new COVID Grants Program. The city is dedicating $2.15 million to the program, which will be distributed in increments of $10,000 to eligible businesses and nonprofits. Eligible expenses include payroll, working capital, rent, inventory, and various operating costs. Businesses and organizations that haven’t received prior COVID relief grants will receive priority. Applications are available now through May 31, or until funds are exhausted.
Philadelphia Quality Jobs Program
The Philadelphia Quality Jobs Program aims to help the city’s businesses attract and retain workers while providing quality wages to individuals. Eligible business owners can apply for grants when they create new jobs. To qualify, employment opportunities must be full-time positions for Philadelphia residents that pay a living wage of at least $15 per hour, provide health insurance benefits, and offer paid time off. Additionally, the rest of the employer’s full-time workforce must meet these requirements, though grants only apply to new hires. Qualifying businesses can apply for up to $125,000 through the program, with each full-time hire eligible for $5,000.